PROJECT #BEYOUROWN WOMAN: MAHSA GHOLIZADEH
Mahsa Gholizadeh is the founder and design director of Boutique Interior Design Studio: Design by Mahsa based in Dubai. She was born and bred in Iran. Mahsa stepped into the world of art in 1996 as a surrealist artist. She migrated to Australia in her early 20’s where she had the opportunity to advance her education and career in the design industry. Mahsa is known as a storyteller artist who expresses her talent by creating masterpiece paintings, a passion which speaks the language of creativity within each piece. Her designs are influenced by her electric experiences and perception of life. Mahsa’s design portfolio portrays exquisite projects within the hospitality, retail, food and beverage sectors in the Middle East and Australia.
Mahsa’s #BEYOUROWN WOMAN Story
My name is Mahsa Gholizadeh, an interior designer who is also known in certain circles as a surrealist artist. Since my childhood days, I have always had an interest in fine and creative arts. It started out withdrawing with my crayons, then to paint and brush as I got closer to my teenage years. Having had to migrate to Australia earlier on in my life, I had the opportunity to build on my interests by enrolling for a course in Graphic Design and subsequently earned a Bachelor’s in Design at Griffiths University. My after-school life saw me do a series of short stints with Design related firms where I gained my official entry of working in a corporate environment. During that time of my life, I made a life-changing decision to relocate to Dubai where I was immediately hired as the Design Head for a local firm. After a while, I moved on to a different Interior Design organisation where I was offered a role as a Creative Design Lead. My experiences working with these firms were unknowingly preparing me for the future as I learnt firsthand how to manage the operations of Interior Design firms, especially in the UAE. Even though my designs were always recommended by Clients at that time, fate would have it that certain turnout of events led to the consideration of beginning of my entrepreneurial journey. In the initial stages of the business, we had to run the business using virtual platforms as we didn’t have an office, but we survived that phase with lots of support from family and loved ones. I believe that innovation, creativity and sustainability sets one designer from another, and so I make sure making my work is always original and distinct. The ability to incorporate my style in a design concept is one of the things I like about being my own “boss”. Actually, the real bosses for me though are my clients and so I have adopted the nomad style of work to allow me to be versatile enough; ensuring that the client’s expectations are always delivered. It’s been almost two years, a sweet and sour run but as of today, I am happy to say that my boutique Consultancy, Design by Mahsa is stable and here for the long haul. This makes me very confident of the future, and I look forward to using my experience and resources to help and mentor upcoming Designers especially young women who are aiming to be Interior Designers or Entrepreneurs. My company is currently based in Dubai; however, our current Portfolio includes completed projects from other Gulf countries and in Europe.
Growing into womanhood was a mixed bag. My interest in what was described by many at the time as ‘hard cores arts” was considered a preserve of men. For me, design and painting were the easiest ways of expressing myself when telling a story. Fortunately, I got support from my family when they realised this was something I was passionate about and so encouraged me to pursue it without losing my femininity. Moving from my hometown in Iran to Australia also shaped the way I perceived the world and the role of women in modern times. Balancing the new experiences was hard as I sometimes felt misunderstood. The differences in culture though shaped my opinion and prepared me for an open-minded world. My love for Arts and Design deepened during that time because it presented me with the opportunity to express my thoughts on canvas and helped me heal through difficult times. The interior design uses elements, manages space and creates concepts so I naturally apply these in my thought process which shapes my decision making.
Self-acceptance is a gradual process, and probably unending is life as well depending on the scope. As a woman into arts and design, there were times I thought of taking my passion as a hobby and pursuing a different discipline as my organisational skills were good as well. It took some time to finally accept that this is what I am cut for, and I could use my additional skills to better manage my business. There have been times I had to stand alone to make personal decisions, and this led me to points where I built my inner strengths and knew what I wanted to achieve. This made accepting my choices a less daunting task. To come to this point, I learnt that people will always have opinions that may not necessarily translate into facts. We learn from each other, but we cannot please everyone so it is important to think carefully before taking all opinions as that of reality. Many people fail at self-acceptance mainly because of what people think about them, and not who they think they are. Self-love, on the other hand, I would say grows depending on the amount of love you show to others. I believe that in life you get back more of what you give away, so a reflection of how you love the interest of people and society at large is a true case study of self-love. That being said, however, it is always a good idea to routinely make time for yourself to indulge in activities which interests you and makes you a better person. Also, surround yourself with so much positivity. Self-acceptance is a catalyst for self-love: when you know and accept who you are, it is easy to give of your best to people and society and the rewards you reap will increase your self-love and worth.
What it means to you to BEYOUROWN Woman in the 21st century
Thanks to the good job of advocacy by some great women in the past, the foundation has been laid to BE YOUR OWN Woman in the 21st century. To be your own woman is not just a liberation that one curates and shares as success story to an audience, but for me it’s an opportunity that comes with responsibilities for the greater good of self and society. From my background, I believe in the process of design thinking to sustain any system. Being my own woman gives me a level playing field to be competitive in the global industry without any gender barriers. With this comes an opportunity to excel and show the world what I can do, because using that kind of platform to no avail will not only mean a failure to achieve my objectives which may also close the door for the next ambitious woman. Being your own woman means you’ll often have to stand alone to make your point, but once the purpose is not lost the value is attained as well. Once you identify and understand your mission, you would have something to hold on during tough times knowing that you are equipped to overcome the storm.
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